Ag Tech Summit

FARMS Advanced | Monterey and Santa Cruz | March 27, 2019

Participating Schools:

Soledad High School

Location(s): Hartnell College, 411 Central Ave, 93901

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:

Hartnell College

Ag Commissioner’s Office

UC Cooperative Extension

Summary of the Day:

Students had the opportunity to attend the Ag Tech Summit at Hartnell College. This year students spent the morning listening to a series of talks about entomology and pest management happening locally.  

Asian Citrus Psyllid Regulation Update – Tim Lewis, Monterey County Agriculture Commissioner’s Office

Weed Management in Vegetable Crops Using an IPM Approach – Dr. Steven Fennimore, UC Cooperative Extension

Managing Vector Spread of Leaf Roll Virus – Larry Bettiga, UC Cooperative Extension

Over lunch, students had the opportunity to sit down with an industry professional and practice networking as a group. From there we split up into groups to practice networking at the different tabling exhibits. Students met folks from many different industries and ask questions as well as answered questions about themselves and their goals after high school.

After 45 minutes of networking we all came together to discuss the challenges they faced when networking like:

  • Not knowing what to ask as a follow-up question
  • Or asking an awkward follow-up question
  • Overcoming nerves
  • Stumbling on your words

We also covered some of the information they discovered like:

  • Internship opportunities
  • New tech startups
  • Youth programs they can sign up for
  • College programs they can do in the future

Study Close to Home

FARMS Advanced | Monterey and Santa Cruz | March 14, 2019

Participating Schools:

Soledad High School

Location(s): CSU Monterey Bay 100 Campus Center Seaside, Ca

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:

  • Thomas Harvath – Associate Dean of the College of Science
  • Kali Prescott – Lab Technician at the Haffa Research Lab
  • Alejandro Del Pozo – Cooperative Extension Monterey County – Entomology
  • Scott Fausti – Associate Director of College of Business

Summary of the Day:

It’s college day and students arrived on the CSUMB campus with a smile. During breakfast, we were welcomed to the college by Thomas Harvath who shared his pathway to CSUMB and some of the interests that lead him to a career in education and science. Dr. Harvath spoke about CSUMB and their new Ag Science Major that will no doubt attract many students from our region that want to go to college but have to stay close to home. Next, we met up with Kali Prescott a brilliant young CSUMB graduate who does research at Haffa Labs. She gave us a tour of the Haffa Lab and talked about her current work in Biogeochemistry and Bioremediation. She showed us the equipment that she used to quantify Nitrous Oxide Emissions with samples pulled from farms in the area. The take samples and test for chemicals that may be left behind from fumigation or pesticide applications. Students had some great questions about her research. Seeing a research lab up close and personal was a first for many students and gave students an opportunity to think about whether working in a lab like this might be something they would like to do in the future.

Next on the agenda was a campus tour were students saw dorm rooms and learned about life on campus. We happened to be on campus during finals and the library and classrooms were extremely busy places. Campus life wouldn’t be complete without checking out the dining hall and campus transportation via the lime Scooters. After some playtime we got serious.

Dr. Alejandro Del Pozo stopped by to talk about Entomology and his career as the areas IPM Advisor. He spoke about how humans categorize bugs as good and bad but that there really is no such thing as a good bug and a bad bug. As an advisor for the Agricultural Extension office, Dr. Del Pozo works with the public to bridge the gap between research being done at the college level and translate it into best practices for farmers, home-owners, and anyone interested in managing populations of insects. The day ended with a tour of the College of Business facility with Dr. Scott Fausti the Associate Director of the College of Business. The college of business is huge at CSUMB and many of FARMS students are interested in Ag Business as a major. The day ended with a gift of CSUMB swag and students where on the road back to school.

IPM

Program: FARMS Leadership Program

Region: Central Valley FARMS Advanced

Field Date:  Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Location of Field Day: Ingleby Farms and Forests

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Nick Cantana

Theme: IPM

Summary of the Day:  Upon arrival to Ingleby, we were joined by 2 scientist with Ag-Biotech.  They walked us through what Ag-Biotech does and how it helps it’s farmers and growers.  In Genomics Services, developing crop breeds can be a tricky business. There are so many variables, so many potential pitfalls, and so little time.  Count on Ag-Biotech to empower you and give you the peace of mind you need to get your products to market, quickly and confidently. Our state-of-the-art genomic testing services—starting with our signature Marker Assisted Selection (MAS)—help you to grow your new breeds, and your business.  We bring you more than 20 years of experience. We’re trusted by breeders around the world. We deliver the speed and transparency you deserve. And we’re surprisingly affordable, given our high-touch service. They are also experts in Seed Health Testing. You can’t buy or sell seeds unless they’re clean. But you also know that pathogen testing can get time-consuming and costly, especially during peak seasons—and especially when your options are limited. Now you have a new choice: Seed Health Testing Services from Ag-Biotech, the premiere independent crop genomics lab with more than 20 years of trusted expertise. Our seed health laboratory is exclusively dedicated to getting you the results you need, the way you want them, at a price that meets your budget. Whether you’re a seed producer looking to market your product, a buyer seeking to test a potential purchase, or even another lab needing surge support and third-party verification, you can have it all from Ag-Biotech.  After, learning about Ag-Biotech and how it relates also to IPM we went out to the field and cleaned out an owl boxes and held baby owls. Ingleby uses owls as natural rodent control in their field. We had a great day!

FARMS Advanced visits Chico State

FARMS Advanced| Tehama County | March 5, 2019

Location of Field Day
Chico, CA

Field Day Host
Sarah DeForest, College of Agriculture Director of External Relations

Participating Schools
Red Bluff High School
Orland High School
Mercy High School
Los Molinos High School

Theme
College Exploration, Integrated Pest Management

Summary of the Day:

The morning began with meeting Sarah DeForest, the director of external relations, at the Chico State Farm. There we began our networking and practiced our professional introductions. Sarah invited us on a tour where we visited each of their 4 animal units; dairy, beef, swine, sheep as well as saw how diverse they are with having 800 acres of orchards, row crops and garden plots with green houses.

At the dairy unit, we learned about there operation and how and why they transitioned from a conventional herd to the current organic herd they have which allows them to market “organic milk”. With the current milk market, and the college operating a small herd of 80 cows they are able to sell their milk for a higher price as organic as well as give their students a leg up in the industry by learning the practices that come with organic farming. We toured the milking parlor which can hold 6 cows at a time and is equipped with automatic grain feeders as well as RFID readers that record the data from each cow as they enter and are milked. Then we went out and saw all the calves that are bottle raised and will be used as replacement cows as they get older and are ready to join the milk string. Of course everyone loved them! We went on to see the swine unit which houses 30 sows with their largest market for the babies being project hogs for local 4-H and FFA kids. Next we saw the sheep unit where they raise Southdowns, Suffolk, and Hampshires all again which are bred and raised for market or breeding animal youth projects. Lastly we explored the beef unit where we learned about their past partnership with Sierra Nevada Brewery which demonstrated the importance of networking as well as saw their current production feed experiment and the technology associated with it.

After our fun with the livestock units, we joined a Plant Science 101 lab and were able to see hands on how a college laboratory goes. The students jumped right in and joined the lab groups which were testing the nitrogen levels in soil between two different test groups, one with an additive and one that was a control.

Lastly, we headed over to the main campus for a quick lunch in the dining hall, followed by a brief tour of campus. I can not thank Chico State enough for this opportunity to showcase the school to our FARMS Advanced students!

What’s the Buzz About?

FARMS Advanced | Kern County | February 27, 2019

Participating Schools
Frontier High School
Bakersfield Christian High School
Independence High School

We had been waiting all year for this! It was Apiology day! The almond trees were in bloom and it was time to hear and experience the honeybee industry. Jimmy Gardner of United Honeybees allowed us to come and experience the world of bees with him.

We started with conversations about the lifecycle of the bee and the honey bee business. Bees have a community and they are like any other animal. They need to be fed, watered and cared for. We studied the facts of the honeybee.

Here are some facts that shocked students:

  • Bees are the only insect in the world that makes food that humans eat.
  • Honeybees pollinate $15 billion of crops every year
  • Honey has natural preservatives so bacteria can’t grow in it
  • 85% of plants exist because of bees
  • 1/3 of all the food we eat depends on pollinators
  • More than 100 types of crops are pollinated by bees in the US – including clover and alfalfa that feed our cows
  • Beekeeping has a migration route throughout the US. Their timing is critical and weather dependent.

After we discussed the facts of bees and the benefits of honey, we went out to experience them first hand!

We walked and did exactly what Jimmy Gardner does on the daily. The feeling of the wind produced from the bees wings as they land on your hood is a feeling that you can’t explain. Your first reaction is to swat them, but then you remember that you are safe in the suit. You see and hear them working hard to care for their queen. We were able to label the drone bees versus the worker bees. Then we found her! We found the Queen!

It was a great day! Thank you for hosting us, Redhouse Beef. Thank you for teaching us, United Honeybees!

Organic Pest Management

FARMS Advanced | Monterey and Santa Cruz | February 21, 2019

Participating Schools:

Soledad High School

Location(s):

1700 Old Stage Road, Salinas

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:

  • Nathan Harkleroad – ALBA 
  • Octavio Garcia – ALBA 

Summary of the Day:

Students arrived at ALBA with coffee in hand. They found a seat at the front and I began with a greeting and check-in. ALBA stands for Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association and they provide educational courses on organic farming. Today students would learn more about IPM in an organic setting.

The Definition of IPM – The use of various methods to reduce pest population below economically damaging levels without adverse secondary effects

Students were presented information on IPM by Nathan Harkleroad. He showed the different levels of pest control management which are:

  1. Cultural Control
  2. Physical Mechanical Control
  3. Biological Control
  4. Chemical Control

Following Nathan’s IPM introduction was Octavio Garcia, a hardworking young man with an inspiring story about his journey to becoming a PCA and Farmer. He then explained what his typical day looks like and what his responsibilities are as a PCA. Students asked great questions about the workload and the difference between conventional IPM and organic IPM. Octavio shared that the IPM model was the same for both Organic and Conventional with exception of the types of controls used in Chemical Control level.

Nathan had a small hand lens for students to use out in the field. We headed outside to the strawberry beds to test out the lenses and drop predatory mites by hand. The beds were still wet from the rain and we all had soggy boots and feet when we were done. We then watched some informative videos by USDA researcher Eric Brannan and his findings on using asylum flowers as an insectary plant and hedgerows to manage pests by providing habitat for pollinators and birds that can help manage rodents and insects. The last activity on the agenda was a skills assessment activity to talk with students about soft and hard skills. It was a fun activity to do with students and I could vouch for their soft skills because I have seen these skills demonstrated.

  • Estrella is enthusiastic, social and reliable.
  • Andrea is organized, a team player and responsible.
  • Diana is patient, positive and a great listener.
  • Precious is honest, hardworking, and patient.
  • Aaron is loyal, task-oriented with an outlandish personality.

All of them are excellent public speakers, intuitive, mature, caring, fast learners and a pleasure to work with.

IPM, Citrus and Professional Development

Program: FARMS Advanced Leadership Program

Region: Central Valley

Field Date:  Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Location of Field Day: Bee Sweet Citrus

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Monique Bienvenue

Theme: IPM, Citrus and Employment

Students from the FARMS Advanced Leadership Program spent the day at Bee Sweet Citrus in Fowler CA with Monique Bienvenue.  Upon arrival we were whisked away to the field for a field presentation with one of their Pest Control Advisors. He talked with the students about IPM and Citrus.  Following the field presentation we drove back to the packing facility and walked through the facility. After a short lunch, Monique shared with the students tips about Resumes, Interviews and Social Media.  The students took a lot away from their day with Monique. It’s good for students to learn about these things from the industry professionals.

Bee Sweet Citrus

Sierra Cascade Logging Expo

FARMS Advanced | Tehama County | February 7, 2019

Location of Field Day
Anderson, CA

Participating High Schools
Red Bluff High School
Los Molinos High School
Orland High School
Mercy High School

Field Day Host
Sierra Cascade Logging Conference, Sierra Pacific Industries

Summary of the Day:

Tehama County FARMS Advanced was invited by Sierra Pacific Industries to visit the Sierra Cascade Logging Expo in Anderson, Ca and learn all about the diversity in the logging industry. Living in Tehama County, we daily see logging trucks traveling down the road and these FARMS Advanced students also visited Sierra Pacific Industries during their year in FARMS Leadership which is one of the largest logging companies in Northern California. However, students don’t always think of logging as part of agriculture, so this opportunity was very fitting and gave the students an up close look at the equipment, and companies that are involved in the daily operations of this very demanding and regulated industry.

Walking into the largest forest products and construction equipment exposition in the west was very impressive and the students were greeted by Tommy 2×4 the mascot as well as some HUGE equipment. Throughout the day we explored all the different types of equipment that are used in the logging industry such as skidders, log loaders, and feller bunchers and were able to network with different operators as well as reps for the companies that manufacture the equipment.

“I was impressed at how expensive the equipment is and the amount of advanced technology they use for every job.” -Mary Pat Peterson, Mercy High School

Of course, at expo’s it’s not all business…the students also went through stations that included other aspects of the industry including a wildlife presentation, learning about sustainability of forests, how Cal Fire is involved and wildfire prevention, college students who were competing in different ax throwing contests, as well as watching a wood carver.

“It was very interesting being able to look inside the cockpit of the CalFire helicopter as well as being able to climb in where the firefighters would sit!” -Stephanie Mills, Red Bluff High School

IPM & Pro-Scan Survey

FARMS Advanced Leadership Program

Region: Central Valley

Field Date: Thursday, January 31, 2019

Location of Field Day: GAR Tootelian Inc

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Ralph Rendon, Karen Musson, Brent Parolini

Theme: IPM

Before students even set foot onto the GAR Property they completed a Pro-Scan Survey.  The ProScan Survey is an instrument designed by Professional DynaMetric Programs, Inc. (PDP) to measure the major aspects of self-perception, including an individual’s basic behavior, reaction to the environment, and predictable behavior.  GAR uses this survey on every employee that is hired so when they are hired they are aware of their behavior and if they would be a good fit for the company and other employees to work with.

Each student was able to go through their completed results with Ralph explaining each and every aspect of the survey.  The students were blown away by how it accurately predicted their behavior. Students also said it said similar things as the True Colors survey they took at Fresno State just a week earlier.

After all of the students studied their test results we broke for a quick Lunch break. After lunch we had a roundtable question and answer session with Mr. Parolini a Pest Control Advisor for GAR Tootelian.  He talked about his job as it relates to IPM the Advanced Topic of the year. Students ever went more in depth in answering questions about IPM and how it is related to Regulation, Sustainability, Footprint, Media, Water, Careers, Technology & Innovation, Labor and Politics.  This was a great field day and the students and myself learned a lot about ourselves and IPM.

Bulldogs and Agriculture

FARMS Program |
Kern and Central Valley Regions |January 25, 2019

Participating Schools
Kern County:
Frontier High School
Bakersfield Christian High School
Independence High School

Central Valley:
Hanford High School
Kerman High School

Summary of the Day
Do you think Bulldogs know about Agriculture? The Fresno State Bulldogs are pros! Our Central Valley and Kern County FARMS Advanced students learned a lot about their character and about Integrated Pest Management as we toured the Fresno State Ag Department.

We started the day gathering in the Ag One Meeting Room. Introductions were made between students through an Ice Breaker activity. This helped the two regions come together, however many of the students knew each other already due to the connectivity through social media and the FFA world.

A Leadership Team was established in the group and they were given the task to interview and then introduce our hosts, Michelle Perez, and Rick Chacon. Fresno State offers a class in True Colors, a personality development tool aiding in team development. Students were amazed at the outcome and how it validated how they think and act. They also were led through an exercise in understanding the other personality traits and how to work with those traits. Students discussed how they might use this tool in the workplace or even in their social circles and families.

We broke for lunch and then made our way out to the farm to study the pistachio and almond trees. We talked about identifying the Naval Orange Worm and the devastating effects it can have on the industry. We talked about the practices used to protect against it as well.

Dr. Jacob Wenger taught about the Naval Orange Worm

We also discussed the shaking process in almonds and were able to witness the equipment used to shake the trees. Ranch Manager Rob gave us a tour of the campus’s working orchard where we discussed the importance of the care and maintenance in order to keep harvesting on track.

From the field, we went to the Jordan Lab. This state of the art lab has been a great addition to the campus and we were fortunate to get a behind the scenes tour. The lab allows for in-depth ag research. The professional nature of the lab is something the students noticed right away. One lab was dedicated to the study of the Naval Orange Worm. Dr. Wenger shared his knowledge and how they are considering working on a way to make the worm glow for earlier detection. They use the smallest of needles to inject the worms to change their DNA then breed this new gene We were able to study the different life cycles of the worms.